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Wednesday 26th June 2019

Three children's heart surgery units closed

6th July 2012

A restructuring of children’s heart surgery services in England has seen three units closed.


From next year, such surgery will be carried out at seven hospitals in a step designed to make care safer and better by creating fewer larger units.

It means that child heart surgery will stop at centres in Leeds, Leicester and the Royal Brompton Hospital in London, as well as the John Radcliff hospital in Oxford, which dropped out of the race to survive in 2010 after children’s heart surgery was suspended because of safety concerns.

The decision comes more than a decade after an inquiry into the Bristol babies’ scandal ruled that it would be in the best interests of patients to concentrate services in far fewer hospitals.

While it means babies born with serious heart defects in some parts of England and Wales will have to travel further for surgery than they do currently, they will be treated in bigger, 24/7 centres, with specialist surgeons performing more complex operations every year.

Members of the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts (JCPCT), set-up for the review, saved Evelina Hospital, which is part of Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital Trust and Great Ormond Street in London; The Freeman Hospital in Newcastle; Birmingham Children’s Hospital; Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool; Southampton General Hospital and Bristol Royal Hospital for Children.

The Safe and Sustainable review into children’s cardiac surgery was announced by the NHS medical director in 2008 when the 11 trusts offering the service agreed that there needed to be changes.


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